Researchers from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are asking for people with systemic lupus erythematosus to consider joining a clinical trial that is testing a combination of rituximab and belimumab as a treatment for the disease.
Professor Mike Ehrenstein, University College London (UCL), is the lead of the New Therapies Clinic for Inflammatory Arthritis at UCL Hospitals and is the Chief Investigator for the study.
He said: “The trial involves testing two relatively new treatments, rituximab and belimumab, which target those cells attacking the tissues and could stop the disease in its tracks. We are testing whether this treatment is better than the conventional treatments we have at the moment.”
Lupus patients can find out if they are eligible for the trial by speaking to their regular lupus doctor and asking to be referred on to the trial.
Sherron who is a participant for the trial said: “I saw my consultant and asked about possible alternative ways the disease could be managed, not necessarily using steroids, and I was put in touch with doctors on the lupus trial. The trial involves monthly check-ups with the same consultant where you get to talk about any symptoms, which is great.”
She added: “In the past I had given blood but once I had been diagnosed, I knew I couldn’t do that. Being involved in the trial was one of the ways I thought I could give back - I can help others and help the research develop further.”
The BEAT-Lupus study is funded by Versus Arthritis in partnership with the UCL Hospitals NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and GSK. It will recruit 50 patients from participating lupus specialist centres across the UK.
To find out more, talk to your lupus doctor, visit the Beat-Lupus trial website - beatlupus.uk/ - or watch the video where patient Sherron and Professor Ehrenstein explain their involvement in the BEAT-Lupus trial;